The First of its Kind
as told by Jayde Stuckey
photography by Amandla Baraka
Earlier in the year, we covered a burgeoning skate scene led by a group of teenage boys who call themselves WAFFLESNCREAM. In the blistering heat of Freedom Park in Lagos, Nigeria, we recorded them attempting tricks and enjoyed with the guys the subsequent satisfaction upon landing. This May, In the OXOSI Studio, we hosted the first WAFFLESNCREAM pop-up shop stateside. From a distance, we’ve watched the growth of a brand and a movement. Upon the exclusive fall release of WAFFLESNCREAM on OXOSI, we talked to the founder of the collective about the state of skate in Lagos and their latest ‘Dry/Harmattan’ collection.
A shift in culture isn’t a siloed experience. It is created out of necessity by forward thinkers in efforts to update the outdated. On Nigeria’s Victoria Island, the renegade group of 14 to 27-year-olds is a good case in point. The name: WAFFLESNCREAM, a title meant to sound familiar like that of a popular imported treat or dish. The logo: a colonizer in a top hat with dead eyes. Though created in 2012, WAFFLESNCREAM existed mostly as an identity for the boys until the opening of their store in January. These days, the store’s roof serves as a meeting point for the crew for refuge from the blistering heat.
Nonconforming and unwavering, they admired other outliers of the skate community like Terry Kennedy and Stevie Williams — fellow black skaters. With less representation in Nigeria, they look up to themselves, relying on one another for inspiration. “With the clothes, people can see and feel our vision. We know some people here dress like Americans or like European people, but have not been to America or Europe. So, how do you paint a picture of what goes on in our country, in our environment, in our place?” Their solution comes in the form of ankara pants and saint button-ups, generally used to memorialize religion and popular figures (similar: Supreme’s controversial Obama print).
The proof is evident in their ability to sell out in-store within a week’s time. “We want to export our culture like how the West has always exported their culture, whether through film, fashion, or anything,” the founder and eldest member of the group says. Having released seven collections prior, this drop remains the largest and most sought-after for the brand. Featuring styles like the Corruption T-Shirt and Shine Shine Bobo T-Shirt, the Dry/Harmattan collection touches on religion, the Nigerian skate scene, and social issues. This collection pushes boundaries with images of a Sambo-like character on a t-shirt that reads ‘DANGEROUS BLACK MAN.’ “It’s just based on our environment really and what we see everyday,” he told us.
“We want to export our culture like how the West has always exported their culture, whether through film, fashion, or anything.”
As the brand flourishes, the young collective’s struggles range from sourcing skateboards, a lack of sociopolitical support, to even city-wide power outages. Still, their commitment to the movement only strengthens. On the exclusive collaboration with OXOSI: “We’re all young people, beating the same tune. We’re fighting the same battle, pushing the same boundaries. We’re all together. So, I think there’s a mutual respect and need for where we want to be. We all want to shed light on Africa. We all see Africa through a different lens that the world has painted. We’re riding the same wave.”